風流斷劍小小刀 (1979)
The Deadly Breaking Sword


Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 02/06/2007
Summary: top honors, all aspects.

One of the best things about the digital age that we are living in is the release of the old Shaw Bros. Studios films on DVD. One of the best of these DVD miracles is The Deadly Breaking Sword. The Shaw's Studio was blasting on all cylinders when they put this elegant, compelling film in the theaters. One of the best films of 1979, director Sun Chung teams up with action directors Tong Gaai and Wong Pau-Gei to create one of the masterpieces of this genre.

Since they all started working at the Studio around the same time, it made sense for producer Sir Run Run Shaw to give the brilliant screenplay by the legendary Ni Kuang to director Chung and cast Ti Lung and Alexander Fu Sheng along with Shih Szu and Lily Li Li-Li to bring it all to life. Trust me. ;-) Get there early for a good seat. Don't miss the absolutely brilliant opening sequence where Chung pays homage to Sergio Corbucci's seminal western Django [1966], and to Sergio Leone's grand works, as well. The film gets top honors in all aspects of production.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 07/31/2005
Summary: 7/10 - Good story, needed better fights

The film is an interesting mix of the classic wu xia pian and the kung fu comedy that was rapidly replacing it, with the casting of Ti Lung and Fu Sheng as dual leads clearly representing the two styles of films with which they were strongly identified. It could be seen as a "handing over the baton" film, with the older generation making way for the new, but they might not have seen it that way at the time :p To me, the older generation still owned the film - Ti Lung and Ku Feng showing that touch of class that Fu Sheng never had, and Shih Szu giving a surprisingly good performance (where she actually expressed emotions other than stubborn anger without looking ridiculous - I guess she matured into her profession). Fu Sheng was kind of annoying, but I find that to be the case more often than not, so I'm sure his fans would enjoy his performance here.

The film has a pretty strong story with well developed characters and a few twists, but nothing too surprising or difficult to follow (just enough to keep it interesting). Production values are typically high, with some particularly nice camera work in places.

Fight scenes are a little bit disappointing, not quite keeping up with the times in terms of speed & fluidity, though I mostly preferred Ti Lung's sword based fight scenes to Fu Sheng's more comedic kung fu so perhaps that's for the best :p The choreography was still very slow and dated compared to the work that Lau Kar Leung, Sammo Hung etc were doing at the time though, but my enjoyment of them may have been hindered by a particularly poor audio remix on the remastered DVD from IVL.

Overall, an enjoyable film that stands out from the crowd because of the interesting blend of old & new, but still probably only of interest to fans of the genre(s) or the leads.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/18/2005
Summary: a little better than your average SB movie

The only thing that makes this different from the standard SB kung fu movie is Fu Shengs character!!The character should be annoying but suprising Alexander Fu gives it another dimension, i think the word i am looking for is loveable!!

The ending though, leaves you guessing, who lives, who dies, i am not sure!!

6.25/10

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Michael Kistner
Date: 06/13/2005
Summary: 4.5/5

One of my favourite swordplay movies from that period. Very entertaining and with great fight scenes.

4.5/5

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 01/09/2003

"Feng Liu Duan Jian Xiao Xiao Dao" is an excellent 70s movie with yet another outstanding performance from Ku Feng. Good story, good acting, good themesong! I believe this is the first wuxia MOVIE to get a themesong treatment. The only reason I don't like the movie too much is the slow action, which is always distracting (to me).

[7/10]

Reviewer Score: 7